Brandon Stone, the newly-crowned Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open champion, has been tipped to go all the way to the top by his conqueror on South African soil six years ago.
Brian Soutar, a member of Leven Golfing Society, beat Stone, the top-ranked home player at the time, in the final of the 2012 South African Amateur Championship in Cape Town.
“It was fantastic to watch Brandon win on Sunday, especially the way he just went out and totally blitzed it,” said Soutar of the 25-year-old signing off with a course-record 10-under-par 60 to win by four shots at Gullane.
“He had a great air of confidence about him back in 2012 as he was the No 1 amateur in South Africa and you could tell he knew he was the best. I think this win, and the manner in which he won, will just reinforce his self belief that’s maybe been missing the past 12 to 18 months. He is an unbelievable talent and the sky really is the limit for him.”
Stone’s success secured his spot in this week’s Open Championship at Carnoustie and Soutar, who works as a project manager for an energy services company and only plays social golf these days, added: “I was playing the Old Course in St Andrews last Monday and my mates and I were actually talking about him.
“I always said he will be a top-ten player one day and I’m always talking him up. I was getting a bit stick as he hasn’t been great the past 12 months and I have kept saying give him time and then, boom, 60 in the last round to win by four. He is great guy and wish him all the success that will come his way.”
Stone was reminded of his defeat to Soutar by The Scotsman and replied: “I was wondering if that was going to come up! Well, I think if you were to ask Brian Soutar in 2012 whether I would win the Scottish Open on a links course, he would have had a chuckle.”